Merry Christmas to those who are celebrating this Yuletide Season from all three of us here at GatheringBooks (Fats, Iphigene, and myself)!
It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen and Kellee from Teach Mentor Texts (and brainchild of Sheila at BookJourney). Two of our blogging friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have inspired us to join this vibrant meme.
Last Week’s Reviews and Miscellany Posts
Do click on the images (or links) below to be taken to our reviews last week.
Poetry for Christmas Eve
Poetry by: e.e. cummings
Illustrated by: Deborah Kogan Ray
Publisher: Dragonfly Books New York, reprinted in 1987.
Book borrowed from the public library.
This is the second e.e. cummings and Deborah Kogan Ray ‘collaboration’ that I have fallen in love with, the first being hist whist. I wanted to share a Christmas book with a sweet and whimsical feel to it, and this book fits that bill perfectly.
Each full-page spread of illustrations is matched by a four-line or two-line verse from cummings’ Little Tree. For people like me who live in a tropical country, we have never really experienced an actual authentic pine tree inside our home, freshly cut from the woods with its glorious smell. We are more accustomed to synthetic plastic trees that we decorate with little baubles and trinkets. My own husband handcrafted our own tree (he’s good with his hands that way) and it’s up in our living room the whole year round.
This charming book shows the excitement shared between brother and sister as they find the tree that whispered magic thoughts in their ears and asked to be brought home with them. My favorite lines from the poem are the following:
put up your little armsand i’ll give them all to you to holdevery finger shall have its ringand there won’t be a single place dark or unhappyIsn’t that what Christmas really means for most? A time when there won’t be a single place dark or unhappy – as it should be.
Poetry By: Robert Frost
Illustrated by: Susan Jeffers
Publisher: Dutton Children’s Books, New York, 2001.
Book borrowed from the public library.
While not technically a ‘Christmas’ book, I felt that this is still a perfect read-aloud on a Christmas evening, with the proverbial snow falling outside. While we are fortunate indeed to have the sun the whole year round here in Singapore, I have experienced a ‘White Christmas’ two years back with family, and was enchanted by the magic of snow on leaves and trees. It’s spectacular. This book recaptures that silvery glow with Frost’s lyrical words glittering in the pages. It provides that distinct sensation of drinking hot cocoa with marshmallows on a cold cold evening, fire blazing in the hearth, a good book on hand, poetry echoing in one’s ears, lost loves murmuring softly in the corners of one’s mind.
I love how poems like this is made accessible to young children with such breathtaking beauty as found in the illustrations. It captured my spirit as I drowned in the snowflakes and the thought of promises we should keep “And miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep.” It never gets old, doesn’t it. Here is a video clip of Robert Frost reciting his beautiful poem, my Christmas offering to you dearest friends!
I love the fact that some of the characters I have grown to love in The 13 1/1 Lives of Captain Bluebear and The City of Dreaming Books are found in this tome of a book. I have to confess that I have not made much progress with the book as we had family friends who arrived last week and all reading (and writing) have been put on hold for the meanwhile.
During our ‘downtime’ when we do find the space to chill out and relax at home, I use whatever time I have to finish a few Newbery Medal books just so we can complete our target goal for the year. So far, I have finished reading Sid Fleischman’s The Whipping Boy, I am one third through Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. I have also just recently finished Margarita Engle’s Hurricane Dancers for our novel-in-verse reading challenge. I shall be posting my review of this book this week.